Problem Solvers Caucus Endorses Bill to Boost Transparency in Student Data

December 6, 2019
Press Release
Bipartisan bill will better inform students on higher education outcomes

WASHINGTON – Today, December 6, 2019, the Problem Solvers Caucus formally endorsed the bipartisan College Transparency Act, which will establish a postsecondary student data system, requiring the Department of Education to provide actionable and customizable information so students and families can make responsible choices about higher education with new access to data on enrollment, completion, and post-graduation success across colleges and majors.

In backing this initiative, the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, led by Co-Chairs Rep. Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) and Rep. Tom Reed (NY-23), have come together to support the need for a user-friendly data that is transparent, informative, and accessible for students, parents, policymakers, and employers. The Caucus is hopeful that this legislation will be swiftly brought to the House floor for a vote.

The 24 Democrats and 24 Republicans hope to have greater transparency in student outcomes within our postsecondary education system and agreed that citizens have a right to know answers to questions around student access and success. The bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Paul Mitchell, and brought to the Caucus for endorsement with the help of Rep. Josh Harder. The legislation currently has 128 co-sponsors. Bipartisan Senate companion legislation, S.800, was introduced by Senator Bill Cassidy.

“With college costs continuing to explode and graduates saddled with mountains of debt, we care about ensuring parents and students have the best information possible about how colleges are serving students. This is why I am glad the Problem Solvers Caucus could get behind this common sense bill so our kids can have fair access to the best data possible to make an informed decision about their future,” Problem Solvers Caucus Co-Chair Tom Reed said.

"Providing greater transparency so that students can be better informed about possible costs, college completion, and post-graduate success is an issue that brings together those on both sides of the aisle," said Problem Solvers Caucus Co-Chair Josh Gottheimer. "With this formal endorsement, the Problem Solvers Caucus is putting students and families first, to help them access the information they need to make the best possible decisions about their future, to keep improving our country's education system, and to ensure our students are able to compete and succeed in the 21st century economy."

Rep. Paul Mitchell said, “It has long been a priority of mine to ensure students and families have the necessary tools to make informed decisions about their future. Currently, you can find more information about the reliability of a washing machine you're thinking of buying than you can find out about the likelihood of success from an educational major at a college or university, and that’s just wrong. That is why I introduced the College Transparency Act, which would give students a much fuller picture when deciding whether or where to attend college or take out loans. Working with Rep. Josh Harder to gain the Problem Solvers Caucus’s support is a meaningful step in advancing this legislation toward the goal of seeing it signed into law.”

“If you’re getting into tens of thousands of dollars of debt to go to college, you have a right to know whether you’ll be able to find a job when you’re done,” said Rep. Josh Harder. “Years ago, Congress decided it should be illegal to collect this information – that doesn’t make any sense and we’re doing something about it. This is a reasonable, bipartisan proposal that will pass the House. Students and parents deserve to know what they are paying for. I’m proud to lead on this and hope we can get it across the finish line.” 

“While families struggle to pay for the cost of college education, they should not also have to struggle to find quality information about various career opportunities, and student outcomes,” said Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick. “I’m happy to see that my bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus has endorsed this legislation to promote greater transparency in higher education, and I thank my colleague Rep. Paul Mitchell for his leadership on this legislation.”

"Pursuing higher education is a serious endeavor—it shaped who I am and changes millions of lives each year. For that reason, students and their families must have access to information on a school's enrollment, completion and post-graduate achievement rates. If we want all students to be successful, we must equip them with the tools and information needed to make the decisions that are best for them. Our bipartisan bill will help students stay informed and find a path that works." Said Rep. Salud Carbajal.

“The College Transparency Act is a necessary step to ensure students have the best information available to make more informed decisions about their education,” said Rep. Elaine Luria. “The decision to pursue higher education is an enormous commitment of a family’s time, energy, and resources. This bipartisan bill will pave the way for young people to be confident about their substantial investment in higher education.”

“I’m proud to join more than a hundred of my colleagues in the House in calling for increased transparency in higher education,” said Rep. Dave Joyce. “This bipartisan bill will empower students to make informed decisions about their futures by ensuring they can access accurate and comprehensive information about graduation and employment rates as they relate to specific institutions and fields of study. American students investing in education deserve to know how their choice of institution and academic program will impact their path to a successful career.”

Rep. Jim Costa said, “Access to information is important now more than ever. This bipartisan legislation ensures that college students and their parents have access to the information necessary to make informed decisions about their education.”

“Too often, students who are making the decision to pursue postsecondary education have incomplete information about a school, degree program, or the overall cost attendance. This results in students and their families not being able to make informed and financially smart choices about where to attend college. At a time when our nation’s student debt burden has topped $1.5 trillion, the College Transparency Act is a critical step towards increasing transparency on program outcomes while strengthening privacy protections to help students make informed decisions on the education path that will best meet their needs,” said Rep. Lloyd Smucker.

 

The Problem Solvers Caucus is a bipartisan group in Congress comprising 48 members – equally divided between Democrats and Republicans – who are committed to forging bipartisan cooperation on key issues. It is co-chaired by Congressman Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Congressman Tom Reed (R-NY).

 

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